How Africa's largest city is staying afloat

Source(s): British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

By Ayodele Johnson


The streets are often flooded, in part due to the dysfunctional disposal of the 6,000-10,000 tonnes of rubbish generated daily in the city. After a downpour, rubbish piles up in open gutters and makes moving around the streets difficult. “I worry when it rains, especially when it is heavy,” says Lagos resident Stephanie Erigha. "It makes me anxious."


There is one part of Lagos that has extensive experience of dealing with high water. Much of the Makoko neighbourhood is not built on land, but rather sits on stilts above the waterline. Makoko, known as the "Venice of Africa", is a labyrinthine slum built on stilts and navigated by canoe.


One prominent defence against rising waters is the "Great Wall of Lagos", a barrier made of 100,000 concrete blocks weighing five tonnes each. The 18m-high (60 ft) sea defence protects a stretch of shoreline by Lagos' Eko Atlantic, a development being built on reclaimed land, and will be 8.4km long when completed.


Nigeria's federal authorities have designed the Flood Mobile App to make predictions that could buy coastal regions the time to make adequate preparations to protect besieged cities like Lagos. The app is available online and provides real-time flood forecasting information about a specific location, using data collected by the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA).


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